SGA candidates face off in debate

Taylor Harrison

The debate for the Student Government Association spring election covered a range of topics from Provide-A-Ride to the candidates’ favorite SGA service.

At Tuesday night’s debate, the presidential and vice presidential candidates were given a chance to talk about how they felt about the issues SGA faces before the election on March 27-28.

The presidential candidates running in the spring election are: Cory Dodds, Austin Wingate and Corey Johnson. Keyana Boka is running for executive vice president while Cain Alvey is running for administrative vice president. Both are uncontested.

The presidential candidates squared off on how they each would promote SGA and its services, if elected.

Dodds, who currently serves as the director of information technology, said that as president, he would implement an outreach advisory committee — not made up of current senate members, but of representatives from other organizations.

Wingate, who is not currently in SGA but has served in the past, said he agreed with Dodds about an outreach advisory committee, but another important way to promote SGA would be to get to students as soon as they first arrive on campus at MASTER Plan.

Johnson said he would make sure to publicize SGA more by having better communication with students.

“When students don’t know what we’re doing, we can’t expect them to care about what we’re doing,” Johnson said.

Another major topic of discussion was Provide-A-Ride and what the candidates would do to reinstate the service, which has not been available this year.

All of the presidential candidates highlighted the benefits of having a safe rides program and said they valued student safety.

Provide-A-Ride is a very costly program, Johnson said. However, he also said he thinks it is a necessary program.  

“You can’t put a price on a life,” he said.

Dodds also felt strongly about implementing a new safe rides program if elected. A safe rides program is key for a campus community and said he will definitely bring it back, Dodds said.

“We need to protect our students by providing them a ride home, by protecting other drivers on the road, by getting intoxicated drivers home safely,” Dodds said.

One question asked of each candidate — including the vice presidential candidates — was what their favorite service SGA offers is.

Alvey, Johnson and Wingate all said they felt Organizational Aid — which gives student organizations money — was so important.

“SGA has the money if you deserve it, and that’s the biggest part — who deserves it? And we have to figure it out,” Alvey said.

Boka said the Campus Cleanup was one of her favorites.

“I think that’s a great way for SGA to actually be visibly doing something for our campus, picking up trash, recyclables, things like that,” Boka said.

Another issue that dealt with transportation was getting busses to take students to events such as the recent NCAA tournament or Rally for Higher Education. In both instances, transportation was not able to be provided, which was only part of the problem with why students were unable to attend both events.

For the Rally, which took place in Frankfort, only four SGA members showed up. Of the candidates running for office, only Dodds has attended the Rally.

But the NCAA tournament lacked available tickets for students, with only 10 percent of the 550 WKU tickets going to students.

Johnson said he thought students should “get first dibs” on tickets, and said about 50 percent of WKU’s allotted tickets should go to students.

Wingate also expressed a desire for more students to be able to attend those games.

“Every student that wants to go will go and I will make that my personal, diehard effort to make sure that you pay your tuition money to this school,” Wingate said. “You deserve to see the members of your school play and support them.”

When it comes to reforming the senate all three candidates wanted to work on expanding the number of senators in SGA.

Other topics discussed included what to do with leftover funds, how candidates would diversify SGA, what concrete contributions each had made to SGA, attendance problems at senate meetings and a president’s position on the Board of Regents.